A line in The Apostles’ Creed puzzled and disturbed me when I was a child. The thought of Jesus descending into hell didn’t seem right to me. So I asked one Sunday school teacher in the Anglican church and she told me it meant that his body was placed in a tomb. It didn’t mean that Christ’s spirit went to hell.
Recently, I learned from radio shows such as The White Horse Inn and The Bible Answer Man that the line about Christ descending into hell was added in the fourth century to this ancient creed which the church adopted many years earlier.
Even so, it is true that the Lord’s body was placed in a tomb and he did rise on the third day. But many preachers have claimed that Jesus went to hell and took the keys of hell and the grave from Satan. Christ’s own words disprove this errant doctrine.
“It is Finished,” Jesus declared just before he died. He also promised one thief who was crucified next to him that he’d be in paradise with him. Hell isn’t paradise and neither was the comma misplaced as some claimed. Christ finished his work on the cross, not in hell.
Some claimed that Jesus preached to the captives in hell from the time of the flood. Hank Hanegraaff explained that it means that through the preaching of Noah, the people of that time heard the gospel. That makes much more sense than the narrative some preachers state.